By Haris Emmanuel.
A Non-governmental Organisation, Etim Foundation, in partnership with the National Agency for The Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Uyo Zonal Command, have embarked on a social call to commemorate the 2023 world menstAniedirual hygiene day.
The two bodies celebrated the day with the school girls and boys of Iwukem High School, Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, on Thursday, June 1st, 2023.
Founder/Executive Director of the Foundation, Miss Aniedi said the world menstrual hygiene day usually marked on 28th May, was significant to celebrate menstruation and to also highlight the challenges of period poverty which is faced by about 500 million women and girls across the globe,
Her words, “This year’s World Menstrual Health (WMH) theme is: Making menstruation a normal fact of life, and this theme has set the tone for everyone to embrace and celebrate menstruation as a normal fact of life.
“Because menstruation is truly normal, as normal as eating, breathing, yawning, and sleeping.”
The Period Hero, Miss Etim, stressed that girls should endeavour to feel free and safe to talk about their menstrual experiences as it is the only way they can get counsel and medical attention should they have need for any.
“Please, be proud of yourself that you menstruate and don’t ever shy away from speaking about menstruation and how you feel each time you menstruate, this is how you can get help.
“And speaking about menstruation at every given time is one of the ways to reduce period poverty and fight the stereotypes sounding menstruation.
“You are not an outcast because you menstruate, you are not dirty because you menstruate, you are not a symbol of bad luck because you menstruate.
“These are the common stereotypes sounding menstruation, and it’s all as a result of ignorance and lack of education. This is why period education is vital.” She said.
She further explained that a significant number of the school girls suffered period poverty with no access to sanitary towels and information about menstruation…
Which explains their heed to a call to action which came from a national youth corps member who served at the school.
“We were saddened by the plight of this school girls when we received a mail from a youth corper who requested that we visited the school and empower the school girls with sanitary pads and information about menstruation.
“Majority of the girls did not even know what sanitary pads were. And today here we are, dishing out information about menstrual hygiene management and also donating sanitary pads to the girls who are now informed and extremely happy.” Etim said.
In the same vein, NAPTIP personnel from the uyo Zonal Command public enlightenment unit, took the time to thoroughly senstitize the students on human trafficking and the trends that the children should watch out for in their families and communities so as not to fall prey to the hands of human traffickers.
The team lead, Mrs Veronica, noted that the high rate of trafficking of both teenage boys and girls out of the state for various purposes such as prostitution, domestic servitude, organ harvesting as well as street begging and hawking, was worrisome.
These, she noted, was the reason NAPTIP is intensifies their efforts in the fight against human trafficking. She called on relevant stakeholders to join the fight against human trafficking as traffickers thrive on the ignorance of their victims.
In a closing remark, Mrs Nkanang, the school principal, expressed her gratitude to the Foundation for taking the time to engage her students and also donating sanitary pads to them.
She also thanked NAPTIP for the good job they are doing in the fight against human trafficking in the state and in the country.
The students also thanked Aniedi Etim Foundation and NAPTIP for their show of goodwill and promised to adhere to all the things they had learned.